Once in a lifetime

Greenville’s Upcountry History Museum

by G. Carpenter

 The Upcountry History Museum, operated by Furman University, is a regional museum located in Greenville, South Carolina.  It preserves and promotes the history of the Upstate of South Carolina, a region that includes the cities of Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, and York.  It also includes the mountainous areas along the border with North Carolina.  The museum is housed in a unique building with a clock tower reminiscent of the one on Greenville’s Old City Hall.

The museum’s interactive exhibits help visitors learn about the history of the region and the culture of its people.  Permanent exhibits focus on farming, the textile industry, early settlers, mountain culture, and civil rights.  Visitors can enjoy multimedia presentations, touch screen displays, and artwork.  Many exhibits are child friendly and touching is encouraged.  The museum showcases temporary exhibits on a variety of topics in its Changing Gallery and Focus Gallery.

The current special exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to explore Southern culture.  “Uniquely Southern Folk Art” showcases the work of 25 folk artists from across the Southeast.  The art is from the Scott Blackwell Folk Art Collection.  Notable artists whose work is featured in the exhibition include Leonard Jones, Howard Finster, Mose Tolliver, Jimmy Lee Sudduth, R.A. Miller, and Lonnie Holley.  South Carolina artists that are highlighted include Richard Burnside and William Thomas Thompson.  The exhibit will run through September 2, 2012.  An upcoming exhibit scheduled to open in October is “Looking Through the Lens: A Photographic History of Greenville.”

In conjunction with the special folk art exhibit, the museum is offering adult folk art workshops on August 25 and a family folk art workshop on August 26.  These hands on experiences are designed to encourage creativity and artistry.  Participants will create a piece of art that they can take home.  The workshops will be led by Lonnie Holley, a Birmingham, Alabama native whose work is featured in the exhibition.  An additional fee is required for participants, but all materials will be provided.  In addition to workshops, the Upcountry History Museum hosts monthly lunch and learn sessions, special family events, and Greenville’s Main Street Art Tours.  Furman University also offers programs and lectures through the museum.  Some of the events require advanced reservations and an additional fee.

The Upcountry History Museum is located at 540 Buncomb Street near downtown Greenville.  It is in the Heritage Green Area, near Greenville Children’s Museum and Greenville Little Theatre.  Free parking is available in the museum lot.  Hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm and Sundays from 1-5pm.  The museum is closed on Mondays and major holidays.  Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children ages 3-18.  The Museum Shop carries gift items including jewelry, pottery, books, toys, and South Carolina themed merchandise. 

Greg Carpenter is the General Manager at the Holiday Inn Express Simpsonville SC hotel. The Holiday Inn Express Simpsonville is located just south of Greenville and only minutes from Mauldin, Fountain Inn, Laurens, and the Greenville Zoo. The hotel located just off I-385 at exit 27 with easy access to I-85, I-185 and I-26. For more information visit: www.SimpsonvilleHotel.com